When you have an autoimmune disorder, hope comes in short supply. You never know when you will feel badly or how long it will last. Sometimes you can identify the trigger, sometimes not at all. In times like that, it can feel like the universe is conspiring against you and that the odds are stacked against you. It is miserable. Finding a path forward feels like you are clutching at straws. It is easy to get sad, to get depressed, to get angry.
You miss your favorite foods and the ease of ordering at your favorite restaurants. Having celiac disease means no more pizza, no more Chinese takeaway, no sandwiches. Sure, you can try to get a restaurant to make something for you, but even the most well-intentioned businesses can fail in keeping your food free from gluten.
So, you start to adapt. You spend a small fortune on things you can use to pack your lunch and you try not to be upset when your family wants to eat out somewhere where you can’t. You bring your packed food everywhere and try not to be upset or disruptive while you pray that the restaurant doesn’t throw a fit that you brought your own food in.
It is alienating and lonely. If you are lucky, you have a friend or a partner who learns to eat gluten-free when you are together, but that’s a huge ask. To make it seem less fussy, you start saying that you are allergic to wheat – it’s incredible how many people don’t know what celiac disease is – and you tell yourself that you are “paleo” or “Keto” or “grain-free.”
After a while, you get the hang of things, and you start to feel like everything will work out. Then, your system acts up. Whereas once you only had issues with wheat products, now you have problems with corn or oats or rice.
No? Maybe it is just me…
Lately, I’ve been trying to find a path forward, a way to not let my condition rule my life. It is hard because I am tired all the time, like an hourglass that ran out of the sand, but I am determined to be #strongerthanceliac, to be more than my condition, to rise above it all.
So, instead of getting upset, I am learning to focus on the things I can do.
So far, I can tell you that finding hope is difficult, but it is easier when I am well-rested. Stress seems to make things worse and sometimes I get overwhelmed by activity. There are days when the wold is just too much and I need to step back, retreat into myself, and breathe.
I am also trying to get back to fitness. I feel like I handle LIFE better when I’m eating right, sleeping enough, and taking time to be calm. I am focusing on practicing yoga and moving my body more in general. Wish me luck, or better yet, wish me HOPE.